Ryan Gosling steals the Oscars with flawless performance of I’m Just Ken – flanked by Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen

Oppenheimer may have won more awards, but Barbie stole the night, courtesy of Ryan Gosling and some rock royalty.

[L-R] Ryan Gosling and Slash perform onstage at the Oscars 2024

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

The 2024 Oscars looked to be a resounding success, with Barbenheimer taking the spotlight and even reports of a naked man onstage (although all we saw was a floating card about 3 feet from the ground).

But the best moment of the 96th Academy Awards, dare we say, came when Ryan Gosling took to the stage to perform I’m Just Ken from Barbie, flanked by both Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen.

If you were living under a rock last year, Barbie took the world by storm, was a defining theme of social media memes for months, and grossed close to $1.5 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

So it was a given the film would be a major centrepiece of this year’s Oscars ceremony. Barbie was nominated in nine categories, but only secured one – Best Original Song for Billie Eilish and Finneas’s ballad What Was I Made For? Sadly, the movie lost out in many categories to its arch-nemesis, Christopher Nolan’s atom bomb epic, Oppenheimer.

But while Oppenheimer stole the night in terms of awards, Barbie took the unofficial crown courtesy of Ryan Gosling’s knockout performance of I’m Just Ken.

Watch in the footage below as Gosling brings the house down with a flawless performance, both watched and assisted by a who’s who of Hollywood’s elite.

Both Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen – who played on the studio version of the track – offer their guitar chops, with Slash contributing to the song’s climax with a killer Les Paul-fueled solo, and Mark Ronson – producer of the film’s soundtrack – plays bass, too.

When the news broke that Wolfgang Van Halen would be appearing on the Barbie soundtrack, he said: “I have a lot of textural stuff throughout the film with two major spots where I do some soloing. One in particular is pretty cool because it’s the big song that Ryan Gosling sings and Slash plays on it as well! Such a cool opportunity. Honoured to be a part of it.”

[L-R] Wolfgang Van Halen and Ryan Gosling perform onstage at the Oscars 2024
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.